In case you were wondering whether AJ Pierzynski is a gritty ballplayer who likes to get on people’s nerves or a jerk whose actions have the ability to piss off both his opponents and his own team, the answer seemed more apparent Monday afternoon.
For those of you who missed the fuss, AJ came across first base twice when getting thrown out and looked to be aiming for Justin Morneau’s heel and ankle. The first time came on a ground out in the second inning and the second came at the end of a double play in the sixth. The second time, he was far enough inside the base that he stepped on it with his right (outside) foot.
“That is the wrong way to play baseball,” ex-Twin Ron Coomer said on the postgame show.
It was the second incident that brought Gardy screaming out of the dugout, the kind of fussin’ that ususally gets him ejected. This time, however, it appeared that the umpires were trying to get him to calm down and assure him that they’d handle the situation.
“It’s over with,” Gardy claimed after the game, saying he’d talked to AJ and that all was resolved.
Whatever the clubhouse truth, it’s much more fun to have visions of Jamie Burke and Torii Hunter, 2004 edition, dancing through my head as I ponder the next two games of this series — and the 13 games that remain between the teams this season. Dick-n-Bert were certainly playing up the possibilities on FSN.
And keep in mind there are other ways to retaliate than drilling AJ when he comes to bat or risking injury in a home-plate smash-up. Torii stealing third in the eighth with a five-run lead — and scoring on AJ’s throw into left field — is one example.
Last Thursday, in the aftermath of another round of AJ-fueled mayhem in the Chicago media, Chris DeLuca of the Chicago Sun Times wrote a piece on AJ’s “jerk factor — real or imagined” that included the following: “(White Sox) General manager Ken Williams wanted a chip on his team’s shoulder, and he found the one player in baseball lugging around the biggest chip. And now, it appears, some in the Sox’ clubhouse are growing tired of Pierzynski’s act. The man who seems to be starved for any kind of attention — especially of the negative variety — suddenly and surprisingly, has clammed up because of the odd vibe.”
The entire column, which essentially defends Pierznyski, is here.
AJ Pierzynski: Gritty, selfless and a winner … or goofy, selfish and a whiner?